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Improved internet access is making the future digital for regional small businesses

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson says small businesses in regional and remote areas of Australia now have more reasons to digitise, with NBN Co announcing expanded coverage and lower wholesale prices.

NBN Co says its Business Satellite Service has been improved to cover Australia’s mainland and large surrounding islands, with wholesale prices significantly reduced.

“Fast and reliable internet is an essential service to most small businesses and especially those in regional and remote part of the country,” Mr Billson says.

“Equally, it’s an incentive to small businesses to improve their online presence, particularly at a time when more consumers are shopping online.

“The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows online sales rose by more than 70% in December compared to the same period a year ago.

“A survey of more than 1000 Australians conducted on behalf of NBN CO that 70% have been consciously supporting local businesses online. However, it also revealed that two-thirds of respondents were restricted by the limited digital presence of those businesses.

“Many small businesses have adopted better use of mobile and internet technologies as a result of the COVID crisis and we want to see that trend continue.

“The reality is that digitisation is now crucial to being truly competitive. That means everything from having a website, to being e-commerce enabled and targeting customers through social media platforms.

“SMEs with advanced levels of digital engagement are 50% more likely to grow revenue and earn 60% more revenue per person, according to MYOB research.

“There is every reason for small businesses to embrace digitisation and plenty of free online resources which can be easily accessed via My Business Health.”

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